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Flags fly at half-staff in memory of Lealao Soloatoa Melila Purcell Jr.

HTC Lealao Soloatoa Melila Purcell

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga, in an Aug. 24 memorandum directed that the United States and American Samoa flags be flown at half-staff today, Aug. 26 from 6a.m. to 5p.m. “as a mark of respect” for the late High Talking Chief (HTC), Lealao Soloatoa Melila Purcell Jr. (seen in this screen shot photo from a family funeral program).

According to the governor, Lealao — who served as director of the ASG Agriculture director from 2012 to 2016 — passed away on June 12 this year at the age of 70.

“HTC Lealao’s love for his Territory is highlighted throughout his many years of public and military service,” Lemanu observed. “He has made commendable contributions to American Samoa’s long history with the United States Military.”

Lemanu pointed out that Lealao’s 20 years of service in the U.S Army Reserve and combat tour in Iraq “are a testament of his selfless service and love for country and countrymen.”

“As we reflect on the life of HTC Lealao Soloatoa Melila Purcell Jr., and his service to our Territory and Nation, let us take a moment to be grateful for all the great leaders who have helped preserve the tenets and ideals of our democracy,” the governor concluded.

A family funeral program shows that the family service was held on Aug. 20, at the Laie Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawai’i and his remains were then flown to American Samoa for final service. A family service is set today to begin at 8:30a.m. at the Gov. Rex Lee Auditorium.

Samoa News extends sincere condolences to the grieving family.